Glasses with varying levels of optimism/pessimism litter the surfaces of our apartment, creating a steady morning routine of retrieval. The many water glasses form trails of our attempts to beat the heat, a sip here, melted ice there, a refill, a new glass… until the sink is full, and the cycle repeats. Meanwhile, our little fur-baby leaves pockets of heat on the floor, as she shifts from cool tile, to hallway darkness, to that slight office breeze. Poor little one. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s summer, and I love it, but none of our apartment situation really makes me scream, “let’s baaaake!”
So for the most part, the oven finds itself on a summer vacation, its energies reserved for quick bursts of pizza-making on busy nights or warming weekend pancakes. However, when it comes to celebrating two years with the love of my life, I brave the heat. On these sorts of summer occasions, the oven and I really set to work!
I don’t just bake, I commit. I turn on a long playlist, I grate, beat, pour, dance, scurry… and “glisten.” I commit because two years is special and because it’s that time of year when zucchinis demand acceptance and creativity because, like the heat, they are part of summer.
Like so many avoided activities, once I start, I just keep going, and bread leads to pie, but that’s another story. My Southern-Inspired Menu called for cornbread, but the season called for zucchini. This bread is both. It’s hearty enough to pair with fried chicken and deviled eggs but sweet enough to slather with butter and honey for breakfast.
Here’s to summer baking!
Whole Grain Browned Butter Zucchini Cornbread
Adapted from Bon Appétit
About this Recipe: Serve this warm with extra butter and honey. Compliments savory dishes or makes a wholesome breakfast. Can be made one day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature or in the refrigerator if you’re apartment, like mine, is hot.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter plus more for pan (such as Kerrygold)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (organic/free-range)
1/2 cup buttermilk (organic/local)
1 large zucchini (about 10 ounces)
1/2 cup sweet corn (organic/non-gmo)
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (such as King Arthur Flour)
1/2 cup organic raw cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup medium-grind cornmeal
Position a rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3″ loaf pan.
Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until butter solids at bottom of pan turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Scrape butter into a medium bowl. Set aside and let cool.
Whisk in eggs and buttermilk.
Trim zucchini ends. Thinly slice five 1/8″ rounds from 1 end of zucchini and reserve for garnish. Coarsely grate remaining zucchini. Add to bowl with butter mixture. Add the corn, and stir until well blended.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk in cornmeal.
Add zucchini mixture; fold just to blend (mixture will be very thick). Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top.
Place reserved zucchini slices atop batter down center in a single layer.
Bake bread until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 55-65 minutes (make sure the area under the zucchini is fully baked). Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan; let cool completely on a wire rack.